Friday, December 31, 2010

Year-End Clean and An Early V-Day gift

Hi there! I've been taking a major blogging break the past few weeks, spending lots of quality time with the family while my in-laws were here for the holidays. I've also done a MAJOR Craft Room clean-out and reorganization which took WAY longer than I thought it would - like 4 days longer (yeah, somehow I thought I could get it done in 1 day, but that didn't happen!). I don't know what it is about the approach of a new year that makes me feel this uncontrollable urge to purge and get things reorganized and in order, but I really wanted to accomplish this before 2011. I think it has something to do with living in a place with lots of Eastern cultural influences - I feel like if I sort of "cleanse" my life and start the New Year fresh, without all that clutter and mess (both literally and figuratively) - it will bode well for the rest of the year and I'll somehow magically manage to keep everything clean and clear and in order the remainder of 2011. HAS to work, right? We'll see. My Craft Room is all clean and organized and I am in the process of purging unloved crafting goodies like you wouldn't believe - one of my New Year's resolutions is to NOT spend a gazillion dollars on paper and stamps and supplies unless I have a specific project planned for those supplies or intention of using them right away - I can not believe the amount of crap I have that I just HAD to have that I've never even touched!

Anyway, I took a little break from all the cleaning this afternoon to have some more fun with the December Key Ingredients kit from Taylored Expressions. You still have a few more hours to get your hands on this kit - if you subscribe before the end of the day on the 31st, you can still get the December kit as your first kit!! You can subscribe to the Key Ingredients HERE - and don't forget that subscribers not only receive a fabulous new kit delivered to their doorstep each month, they also get a 10% off coupon in their e-mail inbox each month - good for anything in the Taylored Expressions store!!

So my favorite papers in the kit this month were the red and cream papers and as I was looking through the supplies in the kit I was thinking how not only did they go really well with the whole "Winter" thing, but they made really nice Valentine colors as well. So yeah, I just went with that and created a fun little tin gift holder thing for Valentine's Day (LOVE it that I'm more than a month ahead!!).

I just covered a Tea Tin with some papers from the kit, added a ribbon and some stampy stuff and it's all ready to go! I used the Love Everywhere stamp set for both the sentiment and the hot air balloon image. The balloon image is cut out and mounted on a circle panel framed with a Lacey Circle nestability. Super simple and ready to fill with some V-day candy or other small gift item!

Don't forget to stop by the special Key Ingredients Gallery full of fun project ideas using this month's kit! You can also find other Key Ingredients inspiration by visiting the blogs of the other Key Ingredients Design Team members:
Jessica Diedrich
Lisa Hjulberg
Lynn Put
Melody Rupple
and of course Taylor VanBruggen

Well, that's probably it from me for 2010! I'll be back later this weekend with a card or 2.

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou! Happy New Year everyone!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I can't believe it's Christmas Eve already! I wanted to pop in and wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season! I've been taking a little break from blogging this week and will probably continue to be quiet on into next week. My in-laws are here visiting for the holidays and we've been enjoying some family time!!

It's our family tradition to spend Christmas Eve at the beach, so we headed out bright and early this morning - in fact, Joel was there before sunrise (he went kayaking by himself to enjoy a little "Joel Time", much needed I think during all the hustle and bustle of this time of year! He was able to witness a stunning sunrise over Haleakala from the water surrounded by a small pod of Humpback whales!). It was a beautiful sunny morning and we had lots of fun enjoying the warm Maui sun and playing in the surf!

We've been relaxing at home this afternoon before we head over to my Mom's tonight for dinner and to open presents. My Dad's birthday was Christmas Day, so we've always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve so that Christmas Day could be all about my Dad! Everyone else got a day to themselves during the year, it only seemed fair to let my Dad have his birthday too!! No reason to break from tradition just because my Dad's no longer with us. So far I seem to be doing fine during my first Christmas without my Dad. I think maybe this is because last year was just SO bad with my Dad in the late stages of Alzheimer's and us dealing with all that entails, including behavioral problems and social difficulties on his part. Honestly, last Christmas just wasn't much fun at all. So it's honestly been kind of nice this year not having to deal with that and being able to focus on the positive and enjoy Dean enjoying the holidays. I'm fully aware that things might "hit" me tomorrow on his birthday. My Mom and Dad always spent my Dad's birthday at the beach together, so my Mom plans to go to the beach alone tomorrow and take a handful of his ashes to sprinkle near their "spot". I feel good about this.

Anyway, enough about that. I wanted to quickly share this final Christmas project with you. I made some goodies last week for Dean's preschool teachers. He has 3 main teachers that help with his class, the Turtle class, who each got one of these gift sets:

It's a tall skinny covered notepads (the notepads are from PTI), a little bag of hand crafted gift tags, a Starbucks gift card inside a gift card holder I made, and a cute little gift box with some yummy candies inside. Below are some closer views. Stamp sets are PTI's 2010 Holiday Tags and Take Note. The little box, tag and clothespin are from Michelle Wooderson's Etsy shop. The snowflake is cut from white felt using the Winter Wonderland Snowflake Die from Taylored Expressions.

I used Musical Backgrounds from Waltzingmouse Stamps on the bottom inside flap of the gift card holder. I also added some Baker's twine from the Twinery.

There are 10 additional teachers and helpers at the preschool that all have an impact on my son's early education in some way or another - the teachers for the Roly Poly and Dolphin classes often help with outdoor play time when the classes are combined, there are amazing substitute teachers, there's the Japanese and Hawaiiana teachers who come in once a week (and Dean knows A LOT of Japanese language and Hawaiian language and culture!), the reading teacher, etc etc etc. Each of these other teachers and helpers received one of these filled with candy:

The gift boxes, clothespins and tags were from Michelle Wooderson's Etsy shop. The snowflake was again cut from felt using the Winter Wonderland Snowflake die from Taylored Expressions and I added a little sparkly pom pom from the Kid's Craft section of my local craft and hobby store!

The teachers LOVED their gifts and they were fairly quick and easy to make and didn't break the bank! Gotta love that!!

OK, we're off to deliver gifts to the neighbors, then headed to my Mom's. Everyone have a happy and safe Holiday!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge #97

Hi there! And Happy Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge Day!! I'm a few hours late getting my post up due to a super fun night out with the girls (aka Book Club - we read The Help, which I enjoyed more than expected)! Here's a look at this week's sketch:

I used the sketch quite literally this week, as you can see:

When I saw Karen's sketch with that snowflake embellishment placeholder, I instantly thought of the December Key Ingredients kit and just had to pull it out for this one! It was just too perfect!! I also used the Winter Wonderland stamp set and Winter Wonderland Snowflakes die on the card. And see those little rhinestones I added all along that scallop border? Those are included in the December Key Ingredients kit! Fun, yeah? You can subscribe to the Key Ingredients HERE - and don't forget that subscribers not only receive a fabulous new kit delivered to their doorstep each month, they also get a 10% off coupon in their e-mail inbox each month - good for anything in the Taylored Expressions store!! Don't forget to stop by the special Key Ingredients Gallery full of fun project ideas using this month's kit!

Be sure to check out the other Sweet Sunday Stampers' blogs and see what they've done with this week's sketch.
Then play along with us and post your own creation using InLinkz over on today's post on Karen's Blog!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

TE Key Ingredients Challenge - December

Here we are, it's the 15th of the month and that means it's time for another Taylored Expressions Key Ingredients Challenge! The kit this month is AMAZING! Featuring the Wintertime Collection from Echo Park, it is full of fabulous patterned paper as well as coordinating cardstock, ribbon, snowflake brads, and a huge assortment of Taylor's Tiny Twinkles rhinestones - a complete kit perfect for creating a large variety of winter cards and projects! You can see a photo of the kit contents and read more details about the kit on the Key Ingredients Blog.

(For those of you not already familiar, each month, Taylored Expressions mails out a new Key Ingredients Kit to subscribers. When you subscribe, not only do you receive your kit on your doorstep each month, you also get a 10% off coupon delivered to your inbox - good for anything in the TE store!)

The Key Ingredients Challenge this month is to create a set of post-holiday thank you cards! It's always good to work ahead and this challenge should give you a great head start in designing something special to say thank you for the thoughtful gifts you receive this holiday season. I was super excited about this challenge - not only to use the new KI kit, but I also got to break in some other fabulous new Taylored Expressions goodies to create this set of 3 Wintry Thank You cards:

In addition to the December Key Ingredients Kit, I used the Winter Wonderland Stamp Set along with the coordinating Winter Wonderland Snowflakes Die set. The sentiment is from A Year of Sweet Sentiments and that fun border is from the Scalloped Eyelet Border Die.

Here's a closer look at each of the individual cards:

The rest of the Key Ingredients Design Team are sharing their December Challenge projects with you today as well, so be sure to stop by each of their blogs to see what they've done - I know I can't wait to see! Check them out:
Jessica Diedrich
Lisa Hjulberg
Lynn Put
Melody Rupple
and of course Taylor VanBruggen

Also, don't forget to stop by the special Key Ingredients Gallery full of fun project ideas using this month's kit!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Flowery Thanks

Ugh. Can you believe it's Monday again already!? And less than 2 weeks until Christmas! CRAZY. Where in the world did the weekend go? I've been wanting to share this card since last weekend and just haven't had a chance to write up my post. Last week (and this week too) there was no "official" sketch on Jen's blog for the Sketch for You To Try Challenge, but everyone can pick one of their old faves and use it again. Well, gee, thanks Jen - picking a fave is about the hardest thing ever! LOL. But, there is one sketch in particular I seem to use more often than others, and it worked with the stamp set I was itching to get inky, so hey - why not!?

So I used THIS SKETCH from way back on May 15:

And here's what I came up with using the new Amazing Wishes stamp set from Verve:

Have a fantastic week!!

Stamps: Amazing Wishes (Verve)
Paper: Crumb Cake, Early Espresso, Very Vanilla (SU); Thrift Shop, Fly a Kite DP (October Afternoon); 72 & Sunny DP (We R Memory Keepers); book print from old book
Ink: Early Espresso (SU)
Accessories: Oval Nestabilities (Spellbinders); Pom Pom Trim, buttons from quilt shop; Polka dot impression plate (PTI)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge #96

It feels like forever since I played along with the rest of the Sweet Sunday Stampers in one of Karen's Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenges, but I guess it's really just been 2 weeks. Must be the craziness of the Season! Anyway, this week's sketch was lots of fun:

I pulled out my November Key Ingredients kit and my What's Cookin' stamp set from Taylored Expressions and had a card completed in no time! (that's the wonderful thing about Key Ingredients!).

Be sure to check out the other Sweet Sunday Stampers' blogs and see what they've done with this week's sketch.
Then play along with us and post your own creation using InLinkz over on today's post on Karen's Blog!

If you'd like to see more projects using Taylored Expressions Key Ingredients, you can stop by any of the Key Ingredients Design Team blogs:
Jessica Diedrich
Lisa Hjulberg
Lynn Put
Melody Rupple
and of course Taylor VanBruggen

Or, stop by the special Key Ingredients Gallery full of fun project ideas using the November KI kit! I'll be back in a few days (the Dec 15th to be exact with a fun project using the December Key Ingredients Kit!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Congrats Little Birdie

Gosh, time sure is getting away from me as the rest of this year dwindles away! SO many things on my To-Do list the next few weeks and I'm trying REALLY hard not to freak out wondering how in the world I'm going to manage to get everything done! My baby boy Dean turned 4 yesterday (seriously, where in the world does the time go!?) and we spent a fun long weekend "away" on the other side of the island for a little Staycation at the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas to celebrate his birthday as well as mine and Joel's 5th Anniversary (which is Thursday). We had so much fun playing in the pools and just relaxing and soaking up the Maui sun without worrying about rushing home to do laundry or dishes or anything. Sometimes Staycations are the best, huh? It was FABULOUS and a much-needed break from all the hustle and bustle of this time of year!

I did manage to squeeze out a few cards last week, and this was one of my favorites:

I used the new Wordy Birds set from Verve's new release - such a FUN set of 7 stamps - 5 sentiments and those 2 adorable birds. When I saw this set I knew I wanted to use it to make a Baby card AND that I wanted to somehow create a little "nest" for those birds. I think I managed to pull off the nest, even though it's not exactly what I had in mind, with my swirled pile of twine. LOL. But I just love those paper pieced birds! I used DP from Fly a Kit (October Afternoon) along with some nice polka dot texture on that very bottom Kraft panel (it's hard to see in the photo). I tucked a little "congrats" tag under the bow and it's ready to add to a little gift for my favorite Mama-Bird-to-Be!! ;-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Merry & Bright Holiday Planner - {exciting news}

{Scroll down for my Verve New Release Spotlight Post}

I have been so excited about this and bursting to share it with all of you! I have a hybrid kit for sale at!! Well, not JUST me...I teamed up with the ultra fabulous Crystal Wilkerson and created this super cute printable Holiday Planner using her Merry & Bright Collection.
The downloadable kit comes with everything you need to print and assemble your own Holiday Planner. It's fully customizable - there are several different cover labels to choose from so you can create a pocketed, divided 6x6 notebook that could be used as a planner / organizer, card keeper, menu planner / recipe book, or even a holiday mini album (consider using it as a base for your December Daily Album).

You can bind it with a home binding machine, ribbon, book binding rings or take it to an office supply store and have it professionally bound!

Print at home on your color printer on cardstock or (my recommendation) matte double-sided brochure/presentation paper OR have it printed at your local print shop. The kit comes with step-by-step assembly instructions with photos and includes several divider tabs and labels for the inside.

I added some cut notebook paper to the inside of mine to make room for notes and journaling. You'll need to provide your own adhesive, cardstock to make the dividers (the polka dot patterned paper for the inside of the divider pockets is included in the kit), and if you want your book to be a bit more sturdy add some pieces of 6x6 chipboard for the covers. Everything else is included in the kit! And the best part? You just have to purchase the kit once, but you can print it as many times as you want! It's the gift that keeps on giving!

Today only, Friday Dec 3, you can purchase the Hybrid Planner Kit for only $1 HERE. After that, the kit is still only $3.99!

I also included several hybrid "Tips and Tricks" with the instructions as well as suggestions for dressing up the project using supplies from your papercrafting stash - ribbons, glitter, stamps, etc. Here's a look at another version of the planner I made using the kit as well as Crystal's Merry & Bright Printable Elements and some other goodies from the Merry & Bright Paper Pack and lots of yummy goodness from my paper stash:

Oh, and one more thing...

In honor of the season, Crystal Wilkerson is going to be sharing lots of goodies with you. There's three ways you can get them:

1) Sign up for her newsletter to receive new holiday freebies every week in December. It's super fast & easy & you can do it right now by going HERE.

2) Spend $20 during the month of December at Crystal's digital shop HERE & get special access to download anything else she adds to her shop for the rest of the month for free ($50 value). Just forward your receipt to her at

3) Take Crystal's "Blog Design Basics" for Blogger Class by going HERE & choose from 5 different pre-made blog designs to decorate your blog for the holidays (also applies to anyone who has previously taken the class). You can see them here: #1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Have fun!

Verve New Release Spotlight: Text Objects

It's time for another fabulous Verve Release! Some of the Divas started sharing projects yesterday and we're continuing the fun today with more New Release Spotlights, then we'll be partying in the Verve Forum tonight at 9:00 pm (Eastern) before the new sets go on sale at 11:00!

Today we're Spotlighting the new set Text Objects, which is absolutely AWESOME! I know I saw that about every new set, but seriously. Just wait until you see this set in it's entirety! You're gonna love it!

I went with a sort of Valentine-y theme (I know, I know - already! LOL), but this Ghandi quote just fills me up with mushy lovey stuff and that's where my creative juices were flowing, so I went with it! I used an {almost} monochromatic color palette with lots of October Afternoon papers, some Fancy Pants pom pom trim and some clear embossing for the main large sentiment panel. I also added some scallops, a lacey circle nesty and a Heidi Swapp ghost shape heart. But my favorite part is that vertically oriented "Text Object" quote that's repeated over on the left side!

Be sure to stop by the following Divas' blogs for more peeks of the new Text Objects set:
4. Tosh
5. Jen d.
7. Jen T. (that's me!)
11. Amy
12. Teresa
13. Jackie
15. Mercy

There's a prize up for grabs for a random commenter on one of today's blogs, so be sure to leave lots of love along the way for a chance to win!

And finally, don't forget the Triple Play Project Parade continues on the Verve blog. All the details and entry form can be found HERE.